Where the Nexus 7 tablet does everything moderately well, giving
it a good all-around usage repuation, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 seems
to have found more of a specific niche with its unique interface.
That niche is note taking, but it is a sophisticated note-taking ability, with
some excellent customization options. Along with checking email and
surfing the Web, this combination enhances productivity and you can be very
creative with its cut and paste capabilities. The 2013 version has some
considerable improvements over last year's version. It has slimmed down a
The physical dimensions comparison tells the story:
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) weight: 1.18 lbs
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2012) weight: 1.32 lbs
- width 9.62 height 6.75 depth .31"
The 2013 Note update now has Jelly Bean 4.3 as the Android OS.
There's a lot to like about the new Note 10.1.
- Much higher screen and camera resolution, faster CPU
- Micro-USB charging
- Android 4.3
- Air Command task shortcuts
- Overhauled S Note note-taking app
- Multitasking enhancements
Let's look at the various features, beginning with the
screen. One of the biggest improvements is of course the screen and it has
been significantly improved.
- The display got upgraded nicely and has more pixels than
the previous model, at 2,560 x 1,600-pixel resolution. The bezel is smaller
giving it a thinner look, and the rear case has a leather look which comes in
black or white. The graphics benchmark test (3D Mark app) scored well. It was
13,677, which was lower than the ASUS but higher than the iPad 4 and the Nexus
- The inside of the Note 10.1 has a Exynos 5420 quad-core
processor, 3GB RAM, and microSD card slot that's expandable up to 64GB. There
are speakers on the left and right bezel and the top bezel has a 1.9 megapixel
camera, along with a light sensor. The backside camera is 5 megapixels, which
has increased from the 3 megapixel variety in the previous Tab models. WiFi
includes 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac. There are also ports for USB 2.0, and it comes with
Bluetooth version 4.0. You've now got a Micro-USB charging port instead of the
proprietary charger that came with last year's Note 10.
The S-Pen Writing Interface
Jumping right into the note-taking capabilities which is the
biggest selling point and strength to this model, is the S-Pen, which is
smaller than a regular writing instrument. It does take a little getting
used to in your hand to feel comfortable, but it does perform the writing
function nicely and it feels smooth when gliding across the Note's screen.
For basic screen operations the S-pen does all of the work for
you. To launch the S-Note app, press the button on the S Pen and double tap any
screen. If you want to capture and annotate any screen, press the button on the
S Pen, then press and hold the pen on any screen. The screen is captured and
ready for you to write notes on it. To go back to a previous screen, just press
the button on the S Pen and drag it to the left. To display the menu screen,
press the button on the S Pen and drag the pen up.
The S-Note App
S-Note is the magic to using the S-pen and sketching. Start it
by clicking the S Note icon on the home screen or menu. Click the + icon to
make a new note and you have seven different note templates to use. You also
can change the way the notes look by using four different pen settings and can
change the colors to your particular taste. The Productivity tool option allows
you to convert any of your notes to regular typed text as well. Want to do a
search? You can write the keyword you're looking for with a question mark and
it does the rest. This is part of the new Quick Command feature; it's a feature
that activates applications you use most often and allows you to write out the
command shortuct using customized S Pen movements.
Creating with the S-Pen and Customized Templates
One of the great things is creating your own notebook. You can
personalize how it looks. You can change the way the cover looks by selecting
from several options. You can also change the way the background looks by using
twelve different images. There's a Birds-Eye view option where it shows you all
of the notebook contents so you can edit whatever you want.
What's really cool is the various templates you can use with
- The Note template allows you to keep memorable events record or
simply make a daily list.
- Idea Note template can be used to record and share any ideas you
- Meeting Note is great if you're in a meeting and want to take
notes and share them later. You can time-tag them by writing in the date-time
or select from a menu and assign it. You can handwrite the attendees from that
meeting or select them from your contact list.
- The Magazine template is for creating personalized magazines by
including media photos, images, or videos. It's perfect for creating a personal
- The Diary template is obvious; use it to record your daily
issues or thoughts and inspirations. It will record the date and time-tag
- The Recipe template is perfect for recording recipes and
inserting photos of different incredients or showing the finished
- The Travel template is great for keeping a record of all of the
places you've visited or perhaps a special vacation.
Multitasking With the Screen
Some other great features of the Note 10.1 include
improved screen capabilities, especially when multitasking. Dual View,
Cascade View, and Air View are great for screen operations and give you a lot
of lattitude on how to display and manipulate the screen contents.
- With Dual View you can have two apps open side by side performing
their individual task at the same time. If you need to put information from one
app into the other, you simply cut and paste the info.
- Cascade View allows you to open several apps and place them in a
cascade fashion, one on top of the other. If you're doing several things at
once, which is often the case for many, this allows you to move data from one
app to the other easily. You can also pin one of the apps so it stays on top
during the entire process.
- Air View enables you to access what's in an app without having
to open the app. Think of it as a preview of what's to come. One area where
this really shines is moving through the various scenes of a video. If you have
a lot of photos in an album, you can hold the S Pen over the album and it will
preview all of the photos in that album. If you need to scroll through many
photos simply hold the S Pen over the edge and it will automatically scroll.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition in the 16GB model, and $599.99
for the 32GB model. That's quite a steep price if you are not the type who
would appreciate note taking. This tablet would do well for a business person,
student who takes a lot of notes, and more creative type people, who appreciate
it's editing capabilities which are useful when using the various templates. If
you do not fall into the above categories, I would strongly suggest you go
another route. Even the iPad which is not inexpensive by any stretch of the
word would be a better match for you. As the old saying goes, "Realize
your strengths, and run with them" would be my advice for choosing the
tablet that is right for you.